After the outcome of the U.S. elections, many were startled. Most of those who wanted Hillary to win were outraged at the results while many of those who supported Trump were surprised that he won. Either way, no one saw it coming. In light of this unexpected outcome, a brother and friend in church began to wonder why we (as believers) didn’t see this coming, why we couldn’t read the ‘hand writing on the wall’. He told me that the shocking outcome of the U.S elections led him back to these words of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. Matthew 16:3b
My brother observed that a lot of believers did not know what direction the U.S. elections would go simply because most do not know how to discern the signs of the times.
I totally agree.
Our generation is in dire need of this skill of discerning the times. We should know what times we live in, and what the signs of the times are but we don’t. . . or do we? That is a question for the church today.
If this is indeed the ‘times’ of the Man Child, what then are the signs of this times? While some are seeking to understand the signs of the times, there are those who are questioning the legitimacy of ‘looking for signs’. Unknown to them, we aren’t looking for signs, for “Only a wicked and perverse generation looks for a sign”. We are rather seeking understanding of the signs that we see around us, because it is expected that when signs do appear, and they often do, we should be able to discern and interpret them. When a woman is pregnant, there are changes in her that serve as indicators. Likewise, before an earthquake hits, certain warning signs occur. Our ability to properly discern these signs aids our preparedness for what is to come. And as it is with the natural, so it is with the supernatural – signs always precede changes in the kingdom. While we may not necessarily be on the lookout for signs (of pregnancies and earthquakes for example), we would be smart enough to recognize them when they appear!
Three Major Characteristics of a Sign
Before I go into the signs of our time, allow me to highlight three major characteristics of a sign.
- According to Joel 2 and Acts 2, there are signs in the heavens and signs on the earth. The signs in the heavens speak of public signs that can be seen or known by all, like the sign of Jonah – Matthew 12:39, while signs on the earth speak of personal signs that can only be noticed by recipients, like the sign given to King Hezekiah in which the shadows, on the sundial of Ahaz, turned backwards ten degrees (2 Kings 20:9-11). Now you can have a better understanding of what Revelation 12 means by a sign was seen in heaven.
- Some signs are natural events that have prophetic meanings like the star of Bethlehem – Matthew 2:2, while others are supernatural acts such as the sign of a virgin conceiving (Isaiah 7:14).
- Some signs are prophesied in advance, others are not. Like the sign of the handwriting on the wall or that of Jonah that was not prophesied in advance, it simply happened but had a prophetic message attached.
The first Man Child was Moses, the sign that his arrival was imminent was the prophecy by Abraham, that his descendant will be in slavery for a period of 400 years (Genesis 15:13-16). Once the time approached, they knew a deliverer was about to be born. For the second Man Child – Jesus – it was the sign of a star as prophesied by Balaam.
‘A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Sceptre shall rise out of Israel,’ Numbers 24:17
There have been signs in the heavens above and on the earth pointing us to the nature of the times we live in. Unfortunately, many do not even see these signs let alone know what they mean. Our generation would have to do better with our understanding of the times and interpretation of signs. According to the words of our Lord Jesus, if we know how to interpret signs of natural phenomenon such as when it’s about to rain and we don’t know how to interpret signs of the kingdom, we will be charged with hypocrisy. You know why? It’s because hypocrisy is when we have double standards.
It is double standards in God’s eye when we place great importance in understanding signs of natural phenomenon and not on signs of spiritual phenomenon. If one is important, then so is the other and in fact much more.
This is a call to our generation to set their priorities right and learns how to interpret the signs of the times and to read the ‘handwriting on the wall’.
Next week I will continue with this topic and point us to the signs of the times we live in. Till we meet again on this platform, remain in the Spirit.